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Federer to play Hewitt in ‘faster’ new format

Federer to play Hewitt in ‘faster’ new format
In a world first, the 17-time Grand Slam champion will play his long-time Australian rival in a Sydney exhibition to showcase the new concept developed by Tennis Australia.

They will face off in a best-of-five sets match on January 12 that will feature four rule variations, no advantage scoring, no service lets, tiebreakers at three games all and sets of first-to-four games. It is expected to last about half as a long as a normal five-setter. The format has been piloted at clubs across Australia and is being billed as the Twenty20 of tennis, a reference to the fast and furious form of cricket that has proved a huge hit.

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley said he was delighted Federer was involved in promoting a new way of playing the game. ‘The new format is a game changer and is set to revolutionise the game of tennis, particularly at club and social levels,’ he said.

‘To have Roger and Lleyton, our own great Australian champion, showcase the format for the first time is not only special for Sydney and Australia, but for the sport around the world,’ he added.
Federer, fresh from helping Switzerland win the Davis Cup, said he was honoured to be involved. ‘I can’t wait to come to the beautiful city of Sydney for this very special match against my old friend and rival, Lleyton Hewitt,’ he said.

Great friends off the court, Federer and Hewitt have one of the most enduring rivalries in tennis. The pair, both aged 33, have faced each other 27 times since 1999, with Federer winning 18 of them.
Their last four matches have been split with Hewitt winning their most recent encounter at Brisbane International final in January.
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